Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ida L Denny, 1861-?

By Virginia Keel, and Dr. Amy Forss, professor, Metropolitan Community College

Recording Secretary, Blair, Nebraska, National American Woman Suffrage Association

Ida L Witt was born around 1861 in Illinois to Richard E Witt and Elizabeth Mermon. On March 16, 1882 in Green Co., Iowa, she married Christopher C. Denny. Christopher, a rancher from Indiana, is believed to have served in the Civil War as a Corporal in the Union Army. Ida and her husband eventually moved to Nebraska, and there they had four children, two sons, Earl and Clark, and two daughters, Floss (Florence) and Margret. Earl, Floss, and Clark were born in Tekamah, Nebraska, where Christopher was recorded as a farmer in 1900. Margret was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1903 and the family lived in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1910 where Christopher worked for the Human Horse Collar Co. and was recorded as a manufacturer. From there the Dennys moved to Alamosa, Colorado by 1920, where Christopher was once again a rancher. It is possible that Christopher died in Alamosa since there aren't any more records found beyond 1920. Ida and her daughter, Margret, moved to the East Coast where Margret would eventually teach at the University of Rochester in New York. Ida's place and year of death are uncertain.

We do not know a whole lot about Ida L. Denny as a suffragist. However, according to History of Woman Suffrage, volume 6, we do know that during the time she lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, she was active in the Lincoln branch of the Equal Suffrage Association, affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and was elected recording secretary in 1900 and 1901. The latest suffrage reference for Denny in local newspapers came in 1904.


Iowa, County Marriages, 1880-1890, FamilySearch,

Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, volume 6 (New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), p. 369. [LINK]

"31 More Join U.R. Faculty," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 30 July 1943, p. 17. Accessible online at

Carmen Heider, "Farm Women, Solidarity, and the Suffrage Messenger: Suffrage Activism of the Plains, 1915-1917," Great Plains Quarterly, Spring 2012. Accessible online at

Federal Manuscript Censuses for Christopher and Ida. L. Denny, 1900-1920. Accessed online via Ancestry Library Edition.

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